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Colts' upset bid denied.

Byline: Adam Jude The Register-Guard

PORTLAND - With 56 seconds left in his final high school football game, Thurston senior quarterback Avery Roemen had the ball right where he wanted it: in his own hands.

Four plays and four incompletions later, Roemen walked off the field Friday and wiped away tears - almost as quickly as Grant wiped away Thurston's attempted upset.

Grant quarterback Russell Millage broke three tackles in the backfield and scrambled for a 25-yard touchdown with less than a minute left as the Generals erased a 10-point halftime deficit for a thrilling 13-10 OSAA Class 4A playoff victory over the Colts at Franklin High School.

"We had a great season and played with great heart," Roemen said. "We just gave up one big play, and after that, (Grant) had more heart."

Junior wide receiver Tim McKee returned the opening kickoff 94 yards for a score, giving Thurston (6-4) major momentum in its first postseason game since 1998.

"I just saw an opening on the sideline and went for it," said McKee, who also had six receptions for 80 yards. "It's obviously really disappointing (to lose), especially for the seniors."

Thurston, the Midwestern League's No. 4 seed, built a 10-0 halftime advantage after Ben Martin's 22-yard field goal in the second quarter.

Thurston kept its lead through three quarters. But on the first play of the fourth, Millage broke free for a 70-yard touchdown, sparking the comeback for the Generals (8-2), the PIL champion.

Clinging to a 10-6 lead, the Colts tried to eat the clock midway through the fourth quarter, but were unable to run against the Generals' defensive line - which included 6-foot-5, 280-pound Ndamukong Suh, a University of Miami recruit.

Grant took possession with 4:32 left and drove 63 yards in nine plays - all rushes - capped off by Millage's game-winning run.

"We had him, but he just slipped away," Thurston coach Justin Starck said. "Our inability to contain the quarterback was the difference (in the second half). We had a great sustained run in the first half, but we needed to put up more points."

The state's fourth-best passer heading into Friday, Roemen completed 13-of-24 passes for 131 yards.

"It's not the way we wanted it to end, but that's OK," Roemen said. "It's time to pass the torch."
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Title Annotation:Sports; PIL champion Grant scores late to overcome Thurston
Publication:The Register-Guard (Eugene, OR)
Date:Nov 13, 2004
Previous Article:Explosion at Stanford set stage for drama.
Next Article:Mohawk overcomes itself for easy win.

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